It might be casual Friday, but that’s no reason to dress like a slob. Chances are, no-one in the office has actually yelled at you – “go home and get changed”…but they might all be thinking it, especially if you’re one of many men who have ‘embraced’ the casual Friday phenomenon with a little too much zeal and decided that flip-flops and a hoodie are perfectly acceptable. So what’s a hapless white-collar guy to wear when casual Friday rolls around? Well, below we’ve sought to give you some pointers to help you navigate your way through this murky terrain. But first, how did it all get so damn complicated:
Casual Fridays – God Bless America
Once upon a time, a man got dressed for work with ease. He showered, shaved, brylcreem-ed, shined, and slipped into his grey or navy suit with the risk of making a fashion faux par almost slim to none. Rinse, repeat. Easy – Even on Fridays! But enter the Dot-com era of the late 1990s, and suddenly men were supposed to be taking their fashion cues from Silicon Valley rather than Savile Row. Casual Fridays were born and dress standards that had endured for generations all but died.
What ensued was a dress-down free for all, which left many men struggling to find a style of work wear that didn’t risk their business credibility and still managed to fit in with the cool kids. It was – and in many instances still is – a mess.
Casual Fridays – The start of fashion perestroika
The tech-sector may have launched like a rocket and then subsequently sunk like a rock, but it nevertheless left its mark on the sartorial and cultural landscape; not only were casual Fridays here to stay, but the business casual dress code crept into the working week, thus requiring men to have a ‘third’ wardrobe, hovering in between the suit and tie and the weekend casual wear. The problem these days it seems, is that many men haven’t embraced this third wardrobe and seem content with wearing their weekend ‘slob’ wear into the office. Not that this was ever appeasing to the eye but for a while, it’s been tolerated, especially in Australia…but Men in hoodies and ripped jeans be warned: there are signs the tide is turning and there is a return to wearing dressier clothes, as reported recently in The Australian, which means you need to pick up your game, even on casual Fridays.
Casual Fridays – This is how we do it
1. Wear long sleeved shirts
Even with the sleeved rolled up, this is a more professional look on casual Fridays than short sleeves. Many Philippe Perzi Vienna shirts have contrasting fabric inside the cuffs for occasions when you want to relax the look and roll up your sleeves. Don’t be tempted to wear a T-shirt with some crazy motif and NEVER wear a singlet…ever
2. Shirt, chinos and a sports jacket
It’s the holy trinity when it comes to casual Fridays.
The sports jacket combines jumper-like comfort with businesslike protocol and you can always remove it when the temperature rises, even though a lightweight linen or seersucker will look and feel sensational in the summer months.
Casual Fridays beckon for an open-necked shirt. Many Philippe Perzi Vienna shirts have stylish contrasting fabric inside the collar and cuffs – which adds a little interest and shows a bit of flair. Alternatively, add a tie (you should always keep one or two in your drawer for emergencies) if you get called into a client meeting.
Jeans should really only be worn if they’re very dark denim…otherwise it’s chinos, corduroys or similar trousers.
3. Swap a tie for a pocket square
Younger men have come to embrace this trendy piece of pocket habiliment. On casual Fridays, Pocket squares can be either casually folded or stand proudly peaked and take the place of a tie. It’s the quickest and least expensive way to lend an air of formality and flair to an otherwise so-so outfit.
4. Mix colours and textures
Although this is partly art and partly science, in general, the more you dress in tones or in similar colours, the more formal the look. So, when it comes to casual Fridays, don’t be afraid to mix brightly coloured shirts in pinks and reds with large checked and tartan jackets which are on trend this season. Just make sure you’re coordinating rather than clashing, and try to keep one neutral colour in your ensemble.
5. Some general pointers for casual Fridays
- Make sure you’re well groomed – that means you should comb your hair and probably shave…unless you’re sporting designer stubble.
- Never dress more casually than your subordinates. Even though some may advise you not to ‘out-dress’ your boss, remember that you are the master of your own destiny – look the part you want to play and always look like someone who could become an authority figure.
- Whatever clothes you choose to wear on a casual Friday, make sure they have the same characteristics that you look for in a fine suit; high quality fabrics, fine craftsmanship and a great fit. Buy the best quality you can afford.
Start shopping the Philippe Perzi Vienna collection now to start building a wardrobe capable of seeing you through from Monday to casual Friday to weekend and everything in between.
Philippe wears Fira shirt in main photo. From top to bottom: Ganz Locker, Ganz Locker and Red tartan pocket square, Rock Me Amadeus and Blue and burnt orange pocket square and Niki Louder Mauve. All other apparel available on request from Philippe Perzi Vienna store.
Photos courtesy of Claire Morgan Photography